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Authorities announce new leads in hunt for Kansas serial rapist

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Authorities believe they have linked a 2015 attempted sex assault to a serial rapist thought to have attacked 13 women from 2000 to 2008 in the Kansas college towns of Manhattan and Lawrence.

At a joint news conference Thursday morning authorities discussed an ongoing investigation into the rapes that terrorized the Kansas State and University of Kansas campuses. 

The Kansas attorney general's office announced in 2009 that it was investigating the link between the attacks after the two communities sought help from the agency. Most of the attacks happened between 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. during school breaks. All were in off-campus housing where students commonly live.  

According to a joint statement, the Riley County Police Department and the Lawrence Police Department said that in 2015, a man they now believe to be the same suspect, entered a Manhattan apartment with the "intent to commit a sexual assault against the female resident." 

In the statement, police said they are bringing this information to the public now in part to increase safety awareness among residents, as well as to seek help identifying the possible suspect. They encouraged anyone who may have been victimized by the suspect, especially between 2009 and 2015, to come forward.

Officials have said the suspect is usually armed and covers his face. 

He has been described as a white man between 5' 9" and 6', with varying estimates of weight and age, with some victims mentioning a prominent stomach.  Investigators said there was reason to believe the person watched the victims before the incidents, reports CBS affiliate KWCH. In all but two cases, the victim was alone. 

The police departments said the person showed a handgun in most cases and threatened the victims to get them to do what he wanted, the station reports.

The departments have set up a website with a timeline of events and information about how to get in touch with law enforcement. An anonymous donor has given $10,000 as a reward for information leading to an arrest.

Investigators ask anyone with information to call Manhattan Riley County Crime Stoppers at 785-539-7777 or toll-free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). 

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